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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Reseeding all 32 remaining women’s teams: Texas, UConn up, Iowa, UCLA down

The 2024 women’s NCAA tournament should have perhaps been played on a blackboard. There’s that much chalk all over it after the first round wrapped up.

Higher-seeded teams went 31-1 in the first round. No bracket has played so true to form since the NCAA tournament expanded in 1994. For those who like to pick a few upsets, the plan backfired this year.

Congratulations to No. 11 seeded Middle Tennessee, the only lower-seeded team allowed into the party. And it took an 18-point comeback for the Blue Raiders to upset No. 6 seed Louisville. MTSU’s shocker came in Friday’s third game. Not one surprise came since.

That doesn’t mean that reseeding the round of 32 was a simple task. Performance matters. To some degree, this is an exercise of style points. So there was some movement.

Here is how the bracket would look now if we could start it all again with 32 teams.

No. 1 seeds

South Carolina Gamecocks
Original seed: No. 1 overall (Region 1 in Albany)
First round: Defeated Presbyterian Blue Hose 91-39 (Friday)

South Carolina has now beaten the Blue Hose twice this season by an average of 61 points. Starting guard Bree Hall sitting out as a precautionary measure was the biggest news from the game. The injury isn’t expected to be serious, and Hall, who averages 9.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, is expected to play in the NCAA tournament. Te-Hina Paopao regaining her shooting stroke was the most meaningful takeaway from Friday. After making 5 of 15 3-pointers at the SEC tournament, Paopao shot 4-for-7 and scored 18 points, her highest point total in more than a month, against Presbyterian.

Up next: vs. North Carolina (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, ABC)

Texas Longhorns
Original seed: No. 1 (Region 4 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Drexel Dragons 82-42 (Friday)

In a game in which the Longhorns were just bigger, faster and stronger than Drexel, Madison Booker elected to play distributor more than scorer. The result was a 14-assist, two-turnover performance, which marks the most assists ever for a Texas player in the NCAA tournament. Booker’s eight points were her lowest scoring total since a game against Long Beach State on Dec. 6, and it didn’t matter at all. Texas led by 15 points midway through the second quarter, and Drexel never got closer.

Up next: vs. Alabama (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN)

USC Trojans
Original seed: No. 1 (Region 3 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders 87-55 (Saturday)

McKenzie Forbes has been the Robin to JuJu Watkins‘ Batman all season. But lately Forbes has decided to take the Batmobile out for a few spins herself. Forbes, who averaged 13.1 points per game entering the Pac-12 tournament, scored 17 in the semifinals against UCLA, and then, with Watkins suffering through the worst game of her young career, Forbes carried the Trojans to the conference championship with 26 points against Stanford. The hot streak carried over to the NCAA tournament, where USC won its first game since 2006. She equaled Watkins’ 23 points against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi but did it on fewer shots and in fewer minutes. As a No. 1 seed, USC was already among the favorites to get to Cleveland. With two superheroes, the ceiling might be even higher.

Up next: vs. Kansas (Monday, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Iowa Hawkeyes
Original seed: No. 1 (Region 2 in Albany)
First round: Defeated Holy Cross Crusaders 91-65 (Saturday)

For anyone concerned that Caitlin Clark didn’t have a Caitlin Clark-type game against Holy Cross, let’s compare. In last year’s first round against SE Louisiana, Clark’s numbers were 26 points, 9 of 14 field goals, 3-for-6 3-pointers, 7 rebounds, 12 assists and 5 turnovers in 29 minutes. Saturday’s stat line against the Crusaders: 27 points, 8 of 19 field goals, 3-for-9 3-pointers, 5 rebounds, 10 assists and 6 turnovers in 32 minutes. Sure, last year’s numbers were slightly better, but not appreciably. This was essentially the same game for Clark. We know what she went on to do the rest of the 2023 NCAA tournament. In other words: Nothing to see here. The outlook for Clark and Iowa moving forward is just fine.

Up next: vs. West Virginia (Monday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)


No. 2 seeds

Stanford Cardinal
Original seed: No. 2 (Region 4 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Norfolk State Spartans 79-50 (Friday)

Cameron Brink and Kiki Iriafen are two of the most reliable players in the country. Win or lose, those two are producing. Stanford’s championship hopes rest with how well the backcourt performs. That is why the shooting of Hannah Jump and Elena Bosgana against Norfolk State was such a promising sign. They were each 4-of-6 from 3-point range and combined for 31 points. The Cardinal can move into the Sweet 16 without good guard play, but it would be asking too much of Brink and Iriafen to carry them beyond that.

Up next: vs. Iowa State (Sunday, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Ohio State Buckeyes
Original seed: No. 2 (Region 3 in Portland)
First round result: Defeated Maine Black Bears 80-57 (Friday)

Celeste Taylor won ACC defensive player of the year at Duke last season. She earned the same honor in the Big Ten with the Buckeyes this year. Now the two schools play each other for the right to go to the Sweet 16. Taylor’s defensive skills were on display against the Black Bears with six steals, spearheading a press that forced 22 Maine turnovers. Taylor also had 6 rebounds and 5 assists and was efficient offensively, scoring 12 points on just four shots. Interestingly enough, Taylor had 10 steals for the Blue Devils in their second-round loss to Colorado a year ago and came to Ohio State with hopes of better postseason fortune. Now she might go through Duke to make it happen.

Up next: vs. Duke (Sunday, noon ET, ESPN)

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Original seed: No. 2 (Region 1 in Albany)
First round: Defeated Kent State Golden Flashes 81-67 (Saturday)

With just six players at her disposal, Niele Ivey is short on bodies but not talent. Her big three of Hannah Hidalgo, Sonia Citron and Maddy Westbeld have been carrying Notre Dame for a month, and the winning streak is now nine games after the win over the Golden Flashes. After Hidalgo and Westbeld carried Notre Dame to an ACC tournament title, Citron took the lead against Kent State. While the other two struggled, Citron played all 40 minutes and scored 29 points on 13-for-20 shooting. As injured players Olivia Miles, Kylee Watson and Cassandre Prosper watch from the sidelines, Hidalgo, Westbeld and Natalija Marshall each finished the game with four fouls. It’s something to watch with the Irish going forward as the games get more physical.

Up next: vs. Ole Miss (Monday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN)

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2:05

Paige Bueckers notches 28-point double-double in tournament return

Paige Bueckers puts up 28 points and 11 boards to power UConn to a win in her return to the women’s NCAA tournament.

UConn Huskies
Original seed: No. 3 (Region 3 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Jackson State Lady Tigers 86-64 (Saturday)

Who needs depth when three starters can score over 20 points? On his 70th birthday, Geno Auriemma used just six players for all but 10 minutes, and the Huskies still cruised as expected. Paige Bueckers (28), Ashlynn Shade (26) and Aaliyah Edwards (20) combined for 86% of UConn’s points. Still playing out of position because of UConn’s depleted roster, Bueckers continues to thrive as one of the most efficient players in the country. That the 6-0 Bueckers was fifth in the Big East in blocked shots per game (1.4) remains one of the more remarkable stats of the season. She had one against the Tigers.

Up next: vs. Syracuse (Monday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN)


No. 3 seeds

LSU Tigers
Original seed: No. 3 (Region 2 in Albany)
First round: Defeated Rice Owls 70-60 (Friday)

Apart from Middle Tennessee’s upset of Louisville, the most surprising game of the first day was the Tigers struggling against a Rice team that finished the regular season in sixth place in the AAC. Kim Mulkey called her team’s performance “ugly” and “selfish.” LSU’s 24 turnovers were the biggest issue. That Angel Reese and Hailey Van Lith combined to shoot just 3-of-14 from the field was another. Beyond cleaning up those areas against Middle Tennessee, keep an eye on how the Tigers defend the Blue Raiders’ shooters. MTSU has three guards that all shoot above 35% from the 3-point line. LSU ranks just 107th in the country at defending the 3.

Up next: vs. Middle Tennessee (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, ABC)

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Mulkey calls LSU’s win over Rice ‘selfish’ and ‘ugly’

Kim Mulkey calls LSU’s performance in the NCAA first-round regional vs. Rice “selfish” and “ugly.”

UCLA Bruins
Original seed: No. 2 (Region 2 in Albany)
First round: Defeated California Baptist Lancers 84-55 (Saturday)

While the Bruins solidly took care of business against the Lancers, the uncertainty around the health of Lauren Betts drops them down a seed line. Betts missed Saturday’s game with a foot injury. While the reports are that she is expected back for Monday’s game against Creighton, it creates too much of a question mark for UCLA moving forward. The Bruins aren’t the same team without Betts, or even if the 6-7 sophomore isn’t 100%. The Bruins went 2-2 without her in the middle of Pac-12 play. The good news is that sophomore Gabriela Jaquez, who replaced Betts in the starting lineup, scored 17 points against the Lancers.

Up next: vs. Creighton (Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Oregon State Beavers
Original seed: No. 3 (Region 1 in Albany)
First round: Defeated Eastern Washington Eagles 73-51 (Friday)

Raegan Beers‘ 19 points and nine rebounds were vital to the Beavers’ first NCAA tournament win in three years. The health of her ankle is the key to Oregon State winning any more. The 6-foot-4 third-team All-American forward went down grabbing her right ankle late in the third quarter against Eastern Washington. She left the court and didn’t play again. A broken nose kept her out of four games in late-February. Oregon State went 1-3 without her. The early signs point to Beers being able to play Sunday, but Nebraska and Alexis Markowski become a difficult matchup without Beers and her 17.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

Up next: vs. Nebraska (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN)

NC State Wolfpack
Original seed: No. 3 (Region 4 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Chattanooga Mocs 64-45 (Saturday)

Wes Moore has the honor of coaching Chattanooga to its only NCAA tournament win in 2004. He now has the distinction of handing the Mocs their 17th NCAA tournament loss. Moore coached Chattanooga from 1998-2013 and only missed the postseason twice. He has only missed it once in 11 seasons in Raleigh. Saturday’s reunion was highlighted by defense and a 19-point second half from the Wolfpack’s Aziaha James, who has been NC State’s only consistent offensive player late in the season. The Wolfpack haven’t shot better than 45% in a game since Feb. 18 against Georgia Tech.

Up next: vs. Tennessee (Monday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN)


No. 4 seeds

Indiana Hoosiers
Original seed: No. 4 (Region 1 in Albany)
First round: Defeated Fairfield Stags 89-56 (Saturday)

Despite nearly every higher seed winning in this first round, advancing in the NCAA tournament can never be taken for granted. Indiana looked healthy, and that was the best thing that came out of Saturday’s convincing win. Mackenzie Holmes was the biggest concern. She seemed to move well after injuring her knee late in the regular season. Her 13 points and 3 blocks in 27 minutes were a good sign. Sydney Parrish and Lilly Meister, who had also been banged up, played 27 and 11 minutes, respectively. Thanks to Sara Scalia‘s shooting (5 of 10 on 3-pointers) and 27 points, the Hoosiers had little trouble with the 31-2 Stags after halftime.

Up next: vs. Oklahoma (Monday, 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

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1:44

Kansas State outlasts Portland to advance to the second round

Kansas State takes care of Portland at home to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Kansas State Wildcats
Original seed: No. 4 (Region 2 in Albany)
First round result: Defeated Portland Pilots 78-65 (Friday)

Statistically, Gabby Gregory took a step backward this season, going from 18.5 points per game in 2023 to 9.3 PPG. However, she took a bigger step forward on Friday with a season-high 22 points, lifting the Wildcats to the fifth win in their last six NCAA tournament appearances. Her Hoop Stats ranks Kansas State as the eighth-best defense in the country, but it was the offense, which also got 21 points from leading scorer Ayoka Lee, that carried the Wildcats against a Portland team that just wouldn’t go away. Kansas State’s 78 points were the most in eight NCAA tournament games under coach Jeff Mittie, and the most for the program since 2003.

Up next: vs. Colorado (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Virginia Tech Hokies
Original seed: No. 4 (Region 3 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Marshall Thundering Herd 92-49 (Friday)

That Virginia Tech set a program record for the most points scored in an NCAA tournament game without Elizabeth Kitley, who was officially announced out of the NCAA tournament on Thursday with a torn ACL suffered March 3 — and with Georgia Amoore scoring just nine points — might have been more remarkable than Friday’s two big comebacks by Middle Tennessee and Iowa State. With 13 days off since their last game in the ACC tournament, the Hokies had more time to practice and prepare without Kitley — and it showed. Virginia Tech’s hopes of reaching the Final Four remain slim without the three-time ACC player of the year, but the outlook doesn’t look as bleak after Kitley’s replacement, Clara Strack, scored 17 points and junior Matilda Ekh broke out of a three-game scoreless funk with 21 points against the Thundering Herd.

Up next: vs. Baylor (Sunday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Gonzaga Bulldogs
Original seed: No. 4 (Region 4 in Portland)
First round: Defeated UC Irvine Anteaters 75-56 (Saturday)

After a season-low 10 points in the first quarter, it would have been understandable for the Bulldogs to begin having flashbacks to their disappointing loss in the WCC championship game against Portland. The bad feeling and the poor play disappeared quickly. Gonzaga dominated the final 30 minutes behind Yvonne Ejim‘s 25 points and 14 rebounds. The Zags are trying to make their first Sweet 16 since 2015. Utah is up next for the Bulldogs, who went 3-1 against the Pac-12 this season, including 2-0 against NCAA tournament teams Stanford and Arizona.

Up next: vs. Utah (Monday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)


No. 5 seeds

Colorado Buffaloes
Original seed: No. 5 (Region 2 in Albany)
First round: Defeated Drake Bulldogs 86-72 (Friday)

Drake shouldn’t feel alone. Jaylyn Sherrod is too quick for most teams. She was certainly too quick for the Bulldogs. Six of her seven field goals were layups, and she assisted on five more easy buckets for teammates. Sherrod pushed the ball up the floor and got around Drake defenders to the tune of 16 points and 8 assists, helping Colorado overcome a slow start to move to the second round for the second straight March. The Buffs hurt the smaller Bulldogs inside, particularly in the second and third quarters, when they combined to make 20 of 31 field goals. They also posted a 39-18 rebounding advantage. The size of Kansas State’s 6-6 Lee should provide a different challenge in round two.

Up next: vs. Kansas State (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Utah Utes
Original seed: No. 5 (Region 4 in Portland)
First round: Defeated South Dakota State Jackrabbits 68-54 (Saturday)

LSU was rightly celebrated as the national champion 49 weeks ago, but in every title run there is a moment or a game that gets overlooked or forgotten but was a turning point. That game for the Tigers a year ago was Utah in the Sweet 16. No one played LSU tougher than the Utes, who were a play or two away from winning and changing the entire 2023 NCAA tournament. Utah took the first step to rectifying that disappointment by controlling, if never dominating, the Jackrabbits. Alissa Pili, who scored 14 points in that game last March in Greenville, led the way Saturday with 26 points. Her matchup with Gonzaga’s Ejim might be the most under-the-radar individual battle for the second round.

Up next: vs. Gonzaga (Monday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Oklahoma Sooners
Original seed: No. 5 (Region 1 in Albany)
First round: Defeated Florida Gulf Coast Eagles 73-70 (Saturday)

When a major conference team can beat Florida Gulf Coast, the reaction seems to be more relief than satisfaction. That was the look on Jennie Baranczyk’s face after her Sooners survived a last-second 3-point attempt by the Eagles’ Uju Ezeudu that could have tied the game. “We’re moving on and that’s what counts,” Baranczyk said during her postgame interview when she was having trouble describing how the Sooners beat FGCU. Virginia Tech and Washington State couldn’t do it in the first round the last two NCAA tournaments. The Sooners barely did. Oklahoma didn’t lead until late in the third quarter and needed some big plays by Skylar Vann in the fourth quarter to hang on.

Up next: vs. Indiana (Monday, 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Tennessee Lady Vols
Original seed: No. 6 (Region 4 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Green Bay Phoenix 92-63 (Saturday)

Something clicked with Rickea Jackson toward the end of the regular season, and Tennessee is reaping the benefits. Perhaps it’s the sense of urgency that her collegiate career is coming to an end or that the games are bigger, but Jackson, already an All-American, has taken her game to another level. Her 26 points in 29 minutes against Green Bay mark the sixth time in the last seven games she has scored 22 points or more. Jackson’s elevation has the Lady Vols’ offense clicking better than it has all season. As a result, Tennessee emerged as one of the most impressive teams of the opening round. The Lady Vols’ 58.7% field goal shooting was a season high, and they did it against a Phoenix team that yields its opponents 38.7% on the season.

Up next: vs. NC State (Monday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN)


No. 6 seeds

Baylor Bears
Original seed: No. 5 (Region 3 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Vanderbilt Commodores 80-63 (Friday)

Earlier this week, Baylor sophomore Darianna Littlepage-Buggs struck an NIL deal with Raid — and then on Friday the Bears wasted little time extinguishing Vanderbilt. Littlepage-Buggs did her part with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, but it was classmate Bella Fontleroy who led a balanced attack with 19 points. Eight Bears scored. Sharing the ball is when Baylor is at its best. The Bears rank 22nd in the country in assisted shot rate.

Up next: vs. Virginia Tech (Sunday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

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Dyaisha Fair shines with 32 pts in win vs. Arizona

Dyaisha Fair helps bring Syracuse to a first round NCAA tournament win with 32 points vs. Arizona.

Syracuse Orange
Original seed: No. 6 (Region 3 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Arizona Wildcats 74-69 (Saturday)

The legend of Dyaisha Fair added another chapter. In a season in which she passed the 3,000-point plateau and took the Orange from a predicted ninth-place finish in the ACC to a No. 6 seed, she now has the program record for most points (32) scored in an NCAA tournament game. She scored the final 13 points for Syracuse, and it came after being carried off the court late in the third quarter with what looked like a potentially serious leg injury. When she returned to the court, Fair dominated and brought the Orange back in a game that they had trailed in nearly the entire way.

Up next: vs. UConn (Monday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Nebraska Cornhuskers
Original seed: No. 6 (Region I in Albany)
First round: Defeated Texas A&M Aggies 61-59 (Friday)

If not for the inside play of Alexis Markowski and the steadiness of freshman Logan Nissley, the Cornhuskers might have been another victim of a massive comeback on Friday. They gave away a 17-point lead to the Aggies. Nissley’s two clutch free throws with 14 seconds left gave Nebraska back a one-point lead it had lost seconds earlier. That and Markowski’s 16 points and 6 rebounds ultimately delivered the program’s first NCAA tournament win in 10 years. The team that nearly outshot Iowa in the Big Ten tournament title game and ranks 13th in the country in made 3-pointers was an uncharacteristic 6-of-21 from 3-point range.

Up next: vs. Oregon State (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN)

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2:22

Audi Crooks cooks Maryland for 40 points in win

Audi Crooks goes 18-for-20 from the field and scores 40 points in Iowa State’s first-round win over Maryland.

Iowa State Cyclones
Original seed: No. 7 (Region 4 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Maryland Terrapins 93-86 (Friday)

JuJu Watkins, Hannah Hidalgo, Madison Booker, MiLaysia Fulwiley, Mikaylah Williams. Those are the fantastic freshmen that have gotten most of the attention this season and the group that is supposed to lift the sport into its next wave. Add Audi Crooks to the list. Crooks became the first player of any year to score 40 points on 90% shooting in a NCAA tournament game. Forty points also tied for the second-most in an NCAA tournament debut. It was all part of Iowa State erasing a 20-point second-quarter deficit, the second-biggest comeback in women’s NCAA tournament history. This came after Maryland played its best first half of the season, but ends in the first opening-round loss for the Terps under Brenda Frese.

Up next: vs. Stanford (Sunday, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN)


No. 7 seeds

Duke Blue Devils
Original seed: No. 7 (Region 3 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Richmond Spiders 72-61 (Friday)

Kara Lawson might want to record all of her halftime speeches. Whatever she said on Friday worked to perfection. Her Blue Devils looked out of sorts in the first half. They allowed eight 3-pointers by the Spiders, scored just five second-quarter points themselves and trailed by nine at halftime. Within four minutes into the third quarter, the game was tied. Richmond made just two 3s the rest of the game. It didn’t rank with the epic comebacks of Iowa State and Middle Tennessee, but Duke’s turnaround at both ends of the floor was just as swift.

Up next: vs. Ohio State (Sunday, noon ET, ESPN)

Ole Miss Rebels
Original seed: No. 7 (Region 1 in Albany)
First round: Defeated Marquette Golden Eagles 67-55 (Saturday)

The formula is simple, but successful. Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin has one philosophy: Play defense, and play it hard. Coach Yo’s defense-first approach has taken the Rebels from 9-22 in her first year in 2019 to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, the last two of which have included victories. The latest was a suffocation of Marquette’s offense, especially in the second half. The Golden Eagles scored just 21 points after halftime. How the aggressiveness and length of Madison Scott, Kennedy Todd-Williams and Marquesha Davis matches up with the energy of Notre Dame’s Hidalgo is one of the more intriguing storylines of round two.

Up next: vs. Notre Dame (Monday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Creighton Bluejays
Original seed: No. 7 (Region 2 in Albany)
First round: Defeated UNLV Lady Rebels 87-73 (Saturday)

Creighton’s semifinal loss to Georgetown in the Big East tournament was one of the more shocking results of Champ Week. The bad feeling didn’t linger for the veteran Bluejays. The most prolific 3-point making team in the Big East at 8.8 per game torched UNLV with 15. Despite the Lady Rebels’ domination in the paint (46-24), Creighton seniors Lauren Jensen and Morgan Maly just kept making 3-pointers and never let UNLV back in the game after a 12-point lead at the half. Jensen and Maly, who were the second- and third-leading scorers on Creighton’s 2022 Elite Eight team, combined to make 9-for-15 from 3-point range.

Up next: vs. UCLA (Sunday)

North Carolina Tar Heels
Original seed: No. 8 (Region 1 in Albany)
First round: Defeated Michigan State Spartans 59-56 (Friday)

The Tar Heels’ win over Michigan State was a microcosm of the season: solid defense, inconsistent offense and another close game. After dominating for 38 minutes by holding the second-best offense in the Big Ten 27 points below its scoring average, a furious rally by the Spartans made things interesting. It took the 17th rebound for Alyssa Ustby off a missed free throw by teammate Deja Kelly to ensure a third straight year of at least one NCAA tournament victory for North Carolina. Ustby got the Tar Heels off to the good start, making her first four shots, and never took her foot off the gas, finishing with 16 points, 6 assists and 3 blocks to go along with those 17 boards.

Up next: vs. South Carolina (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, ABC)


No. 8 seeds

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0:35

MTSU upsets Louisville for first tournament win in 17 years

Middle Tennessee hangs on to upset Louisville for its first women’s NCAA tournament win since 2007.

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Original seed: No. 11 (Region 2 in Albany)
First round: Defeated Louisville Cardinals 71-69 (Friday)

Conference USA player of the year Savannah Wheeler flipped a switch in the second half that ignited her Blue Raiders and simultaneously turned out the lights on Louisville. She scored 20 of her 22 points in the second half after looking overwhelmed by the Cardinals guards in the first, and helped end the Blue Raiders’ nine-game NCAA tournament losing streak. She did help. Jaylynn Gregory, who might be one of CUSA’s best players next year, had 22 points, and 6-6 Anastasiia Boldyreva, who ranks sixth in the country in blocks, put together an 11-point, 12-rebound, 3-block performance. Boldyreva’s length will be an interesting matchup for LSU’s frontline on Sunday.

Up next: vs. LSU (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, ABC)

West Virginia Mountaineers
Original seed: No. 8 (Region 2 in Albany)
First round: Defeated Princeton Tigers 63-53 (Saturday)

Defense and JJ Quinerly were the perfect formula for the Mountaineers against Princeton. The Tigers looked like the better team the entire first half, leading by as many as nine. Mark Kellogg addressed the defense at halftime and the game flipped. West Virginia forced 10 third-quarter Princeton turnovers and turned a two-point deficit into a nine-point lead. Then Quinerly took over. The junior scored 18 of her 29 points in the second half. That formula now gets put to a much different test in the second round with Iowa and Clark awaiting on their home floor.

Up next: vs. Iowa (Monday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Alabama Crimson Tide
Original seed: No. 8 (Region 4 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Florida State Seminoles 82-74

The Crimson Tide rely heavily on senior Sarah Ashlee Barker, but they proved on Friday they don’t always have to. Barker fouled out after playing just 11 minutes and scoring 6 points, yet Alabama was still able to take control of a close, entertaining game in the third quarter to win an NCAA tournament game for the first time in three years. The unexpected boost came from Karly Weathers replacing third-leading scorer Jessica Timmons, who had season-ending knee surgery two weeks ago. Weathers, who entered the NCAA tournament averaging 4.7 points per game, scored 18.

Up next: vs. Texas (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Kansas Jayhawks
Original seed: No. 8 (Region 3 in Portland)
First round: Defeated Michigan Wolverines 81-72 OT (Saturday)

Zakiyah Franklin is a key playmaker of the Kansas attack, but she wasn’t a big-time scorer this season. In her fifth year in Lawrence, she scored 20 points just twice during the season to this point. Like most of the Jayhawk veterans, she deferred to freshman S’Mya Nichols, the club’s leading scorer (15.2 PPG). But Kansas needed Franklin’s scoring on Saturday, and every one of her 22 points — which included a game-tying 3-pointer with 12 seconds left in regulation — to beat Michigan. Kansas, winners of the WNIT a year ago, gets to the second round for the second time in three seasons despite being outplayed for three quarters. A 23-14 fourth quarter and dominant overtime moved the Jayhawks along.

Up next: vs. USC (Monday, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN)

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